Charles Demuth (American, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1883–1935 Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Watercolor on paper
9 1/2 x 12 5/8 in. (24.1 x 32.1 cm)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949
Not on view
This mountain landscape with two small houses was painted while Demuth was in Europe from December 1912 to spring 1914. In the summer of 1913, he visited the French coastal village of Etretat, which is probably the subject of this picture. The wateriness of Demuth's pigment and his use of watercolor outlines, rather than pencil ones, may be influenced by the watercolors of John Marin, which he greatly admired and could have seen in Paris and New York exhibitions. In 1931, Demuth gave this picture to his good friend Georgia O'Keeffe, who subsequently included it in the group of works she selected for the Museum as part of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection. On the reverse side of the mountain scene is an earlier and even more ethereal watercolor. It depicts a bridge over the Seine in Paris, with the dome of Notre Dame Cathedral on the left. It's heavily blotted surface and feathery brushstrokes, lack of outlines, and pale pastel colors, also emulates the style and subject matter of Marin's very early European works of 1907-9. The fact that this composition was hidden on the back of another watercolor, may have saved it from being destroyed by the artist, who often threw out early works that did not meet his later standards.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): C. Demuth; (upper left): C. Demuth.
the artist (until 1931; his gift to O'Keeffe); Georgia O'Keeffe, New York (1931–49); Alfred Stieglitz's estate (1949; gift to MMA)
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Charles Demuth," March 7–June 11, 1950, no. 13 (as "Landscape with Two Houses," ca. 1912).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Two Hundred Years of Watercolor Painting in America: An Exhibition Commemorating the Centennial of the American Watercolor Society," December 8, 1966–January 29, 1967, no. 193.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Charles Demuth," May 9–August 31, 2003, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe," October 13, 2011–January 2, 2012, no. 43.
Emily Farnham. "Charles Demuth: His Life, Psychology, and Works." PhD diss., Ohio State University, Columbus, 1959, vol. 1, pp. 256–57; vol. 2, pp. xii, 430, as "Landscape with Two Houses," ca. 1912.
Betsy Fahlman. Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth's Late Paintings of Lancaster. Exh. cat., Amon Carter Museum. Fort Worth, 2007, p. 136 n. 217.
Lisa Mintz Messinger inStieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 90, 254, no. 43, ill. (color, recto and verso).